NASCAR drivers Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson have many things in common aside from them both being forces to be reckon with for many NASCAR seasons to come. Elliott and Larson were both members of NASCAR’s ‘Next’ class. The ‘Next’ class is a group of drivers that NASCAR markets as potentially being the next breakout drivers in the sport. Although every driver in each class will not go onto find success in NASCAR, Larson and Elliott are proof that the system works.
Listed below are the 12 drivers that comprise the 2014-2015 ‘Next’ class.
|Cole Custer||16||Ladera Ranch, California||2013 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East win and top-10 finish in only Nationwide start.|
|Austin Hill||20||Winston, Georgia||The winner at last year's K&N East race at Dover, he has two top-five finishes in this season's four races.|
|Erik Jones||17||Byron, Michigan||Youngest winner in Camping Truck Series history.|
|Jesse Little||17||Sherrills Ford, North Carolina||2013 Sunoco Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East|
|Dylan Lupton||20||Wilton, California||2013 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Sunoco Rookie of the Year|
|Brandon McReynolds||23||Mooresvilles, North Carolina||2nd in points in K&N Pro Series West.|
|Ryan Preece||23||Berlin, Connecticut||Youngest champion in NASCAR Whelen Modified history.|
|Ben Rhodes||17||Louisville, Kentucky||Current points leader in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.|
|Kenzie Ruston||22||El Reno, Oklahoma||She has the highest finish - both in a race and in the championship standings - for a female driver in K&N Pro Series East history.|
|Ryan Gifford||25||Winchester, TN||2013 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East win at Richmond.|
|Gray Gaulding||16||Colonial Heights, Virginia||Youngest pole winner in both the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West.|
|Rubén García Jr||18||Naucalpan, Mexico||2012 NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series Rookie of the Year.|
A handful of the drivers on the chart have already made their Nationwide debuts. You may also recognize names like Ryan Preece because he competed Thursday night in Denny Hamlin’s Showdown Charity Race. If even one of these drivers has the talent of Larson or Elliott, this should be considered a successful class.